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Drink Alcohol In Moderation With Mindful Drinking
Since the first lockdown in 2020, one in five Brits admitted to drinking more frequently, with one in three believing that they drank in excess compared to 2019. Furthermore, 15% admit to drinking more per session too. This indicates that people are not only drinking more frequently throughout the week but are also have more alcohol at any one time too.
However, after the stresses of 2020 and the excesses around Christmas, many people are looking to drink less during 2021. Consequently, Dry January, where you abstain from alcohol for the entire month, has seen a record number of sign-ups. While abstaining from alcohol can be effective for some people, 16% of Dry January participants consume alcohol by January 3rd, and 29% of people confess to slipping up through the month.
The problem with setting restrictive measures is that if you do give-in, it can be hard to get back on track. Psychologists call this the ‘what the hell effect’. This is where you have caved and then continue to indulge because you’ve ‘ruined’ your progress.
Some people can find restriction an enjoyable challenge to follow. For others, it is more important to focus on building a healthy, sustainable relationship with alcohol. One of the ways you can achieve alcohol moderation is through mindful drinking.
What Is Mindful Drinking?
Mindful drinking is an approach that helps to build a healthier relationship with alcohol by being aware of why and how much alcohol you drink. Mindful drinking doesn’t limit how much alcohol you’re allowed to drink or when you drink it.
Instead, mindful drinking focuses on being aware and intentional with what you do. Essentially, this is thinking while drinking. With mindful drinking, you not only know how much you drink, but you are also aware of why you’re drinking it.
So often, alcohol consumption can be a mindless activity or becomes part of a habit. It may be an instinct to open a bottle of wine with dinner or pour yourself a spirit and mixer when you finish work for the day. Sometimes, it can be easy to keep topping up your glass, or accepting without thinking when someone offers you a refill.
However, by pausing before each drink and understanding if the drink is serving you, you can become more intentional about what is right for you. In many cases, this can lead to significantly reduced alcohol consumption without giving it up entirely.
Should I Become Teetotal?
For people with alcohol dependency, research suggests that giving up alcohol entirely can be the best course of action. This is best discussed with a medical professional. However, for those looking to focus on alcohol moderation and still want to enjoy alcohol with a healthy approach, then mindful drinking can be an excellent way to lower consumption and moderate drinking for a healthier lifestyle.
Mindful Drinking: How To Start
These five tips can be a great starting point for how to start being more mindful with your drinking;
1. Be Clear On Your Reasons
It is important to know why you want to focus on mindful drinking so that your mind is present on why you want to cut down. It could be that you want to improve your sleep, feel healthier or save money. Whatever your primary reason for reducing alcohol consumption, make that reason really clear in your mind.
2. Consider The Triggers
Like most habits, drinking alcohol is likely to have a trigger. It could be a certain time of day, cooking your evening meal or finally settling in on the sofa with a film. It may be that your trigger is feeling stressed after a tough day at work or perhaps you likely to celebrate the weekend with a drink.
When you work out what leads you to want an alcoholic drink, you can begin to be more mindful of what else you can do when these triggers present themselves. Are there healthier options you can swap in when a trigger for alcohol hits? For example, instead of adding a bottle of wine to your dining table before dinner, replace it with a bottle of sparkling water. Instead of using alcohol as a stress release, is there another activity such as exercise or crafting that releases feel-good endorphins?
3. Decide If Drinking Alcohol Is What You Really Want
Before each drink, it can help to ask yourself; ‘how does this drink support me?’ However you answer, it is important to do this without judgement. Try not to berate yourself or think negative thoughts.
Asking this question is not to feel shame, but instead helps you to mentally check the reason why you want a drink. Perhaps you’re looking for an activity to unwind but doesn’t have to be alcohol. Alternatively, perhaps you have a delicious wine that pairs beautifully with the meal you are cooking, so you want to drink it for the flavour. By asking yourself this question before you drink can make sure your intentions are clear.
4. Pause And Enjoy
If you are having a drink, take the time to savour and enjoy it. Doing this can slow the process down, meaning you drink slowly and can significantly reduce your alcohol consumption. Being mindful when drinking means you can enjoy everything about the drink. From admiring the glassware to picking out the flavours and even the ambience of the setting, being mindful allows you to enjoy the whole experience.
A good mantra for alcohol moderation and mindful drinking is that you should love what you’re drinking, and if you don’t, then don’t drink it.
5. Try Hypnotherapy
If you want more support with alcohol moderation, then hypnotherapy can really help. While being mindful can help to alter your conscious thoughts around alcohol, hypnotherapy works to reframe your subconscious thoughts. Consequently, this can improve your relationship with alcohol on a deeper level.
When you’re subconscious and conscious thoughts align, you can create healthier habits and reframe your attitude for long-lasting change.
In January’s Live Hypnosis With Malminder, I delivered a powerful Alcohol Moderation hypnosis. To catch up on this recording, you can join my monthly hypnosis program and receive your first month for free.
Alternatively, if you want a personalised hypnosis plan that specifically reframes your personal relationship with alcohol, book your free initial consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org